BARGAINING: Ninth Session Summary August 8, 2017

***August 8, 2017 — 7 days until our contract expires on August 15th***

Today, the GEO Bargaining Team (BT) and the UIUC Administration held their ninth bargaining session. Thank you to all members who attended!

Please read below for more information on what happened today and what comes next.

NEXT BARGAINING SESSION: Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm, Illinois Fire Service Institute (11 Gerty Drive, Champaign). This is the date that our contract expires. All members are welcome! You can also find more information about bargaining on our website.

Key takeaways from today’s session:


  • We won our first TA!  Today we were able to sign a package proposal centered on non-discrimination that added ethnicity, gender expression, arrest record, and visa and  immigration status as protected categories. We have also stated on the record our understanding that micro-aggressions are considered harassment under our contract. Given the current political climate, and the initial resistance from the Administration, this is a huge win for us in ensuring we can do everything we can to protect our members!
  • We made meaningful movement towards securing our Visa and Immigration Leave language. After initially resisting our efforts to include this language in the contract at all, the Administration gave us a counter-proposal that included brand new Visa and Immigration language. Although we are still working on strengthening this language, this is a good sign that we are going to make strides in this area in our contract. Our members, their testimonials, and their continued presence in the bargaining room made this movement possible. This proves that we can make real gains–IF we are all willing to fight together!
  • Member attendance is outstanding! Thank you to everyone who came today! The GEO looks to member input when crafting our counter proposals and we will continue to do so throughout the bargaining process.  It is incredibly helpful for us to have passionate people in the room–and it makes a powerful statement to the Administration about our unity and resolve. With our contract about to expire, continued member involvement is essential. We hope to see even more new faces at the next bargaining session!


If you have questions about bargaining or the BT’s proposal, attending a meeting is the best way to address them. You can reach us at You can also find more info about bargaining at our website.

What Comes Next:

Members, we need all of your participation for this struggle! Please attend the next bargaining session: we need you! The Bargaining Team represents members at the table. We look to you, the members, for input when we go to break out sessions. The more members in the room, the better informed our decisions at the table.

Attending bargaining sessions is the best way to actively engage in the negotiation of your wages, healthcare, and other protections. It is perfectly acceptable to come late or leave early from a bargaining session if you can’t stay the entire time. Just being present demonstrates our unity and strength to the Administration. You can even bring your work if you want. Coffee and food will be provided.

If you can’t make it to the bargaining session, you can still keep up with bargaining updates by attending GEO committee meetings and general membership meetings, following GEO on social media, and reading GEO emails.

Are you a member?

Our members are why we succeed at the bargaining table! If you haven’t signed a membership card yet, don’t delay! Contact us at to sign a membership card. If you’re not sure of your membership status, please ask!

Call for Testimonials

One powerful tool in bargaining is member stories, and we want to hear from you! If you have a story related to our contract, email to share it with the Bargaining Team.

Our pillars of bargaining are protecting tuition waivers, raising wages and eliminating fees, ensuring quality healthcare, and promoting access and equality, which includes creating childcare support, strengthening our nondiscrimination statement, and expanding parental, bereavement, and immigration/visa leave. If you have an experience to share about these (or other!) issues, please consider sharing it with the Bargaining Team. If you do not feel comfortable speaking in the session, that is OK too. With your permission, someone else can read your written statement without mentioning you as the author. You can indicate to the Bargaining Team how you want your story shared.

Note: When choosing to have your testimonial read at a bargaining session, the GEO’s bargaining team wants to ensure you know and understand your rights. Interactions that happen at the bargaining table become part of a record that may be referred to later in legal decisions that determine the intent, meaning, and scope of new contract language. As an official action at the bargaining table, your testimonial will be a part of that record.

To ensure that the Administration does not misrepresent your words, the Bargaining Team requests your permission to deliver printed copies of your testimonial to the Administration’s Bargaining Team. While your testimonial is being read, notetakers on both bargaining teams will be taking notes, but providing a paper copy of your testimonial ensures that the Administration cannot misrepresent, misquote, or twist your words at a later date. Testimonials can still be made and submitted anonymously.

See the GEO event calendar for future Bargaining Team meetings, bargaining sessions, and other events. Add it to your Google calendar by searching for Bargaining Team meetings and bargaining sessions are open to all members. Please contact the Bargaining Team ( with any questions.

Follow GEO Online:
Twitter: @geo_uiuc
Facebook: @uigeo @geosolcomm
Instagram: @geo_uiuc

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